Topic: Please help- barely hanging on

Forum: Mental Health: Because Cancer Doesn't Just Affect Your Breasts — Meet and support others who are affected by these issues around anxiety, depression & other emotional effects.

Posted on: Apr 18, 2021 08:02PM

Posted on: Apr 18, 2021 08:02PM

Firecracker73 wrote:

I apologize in advance for what might be a long post. I have been a member of BCO for years. BCO has Offered me a tremendous amount of comfort, support and education since my original diagnosis in 2017. I read the posts almost daily but have only posted twice. I am writing and seeking any and all recommendations, suggestions and feedback out of complete fear and desperation. I have never felt so completely lost, alone and scared in my entire life- in spite of being diagnosed with cancer twice.

A few months ago, I noticed an area on my radiated breast that kept scratching open. As a result of radiation, I am no longer a candidate for implants- my only option is a DIEP FLAP. For a variety of reasons, I have not been able to undergo the procedure- financially I had no nest egg to fall back on to support myself and my 2 children during my recovery. Furthermore, I have no idea where my children will stay while I am in the hospital as they currently do not want to see- let alone visit- their father. In addition, my plastic surgeon does not perform the surgery - closest plastic surgeon is In Baltimore- almost an hour away. Finally, my employer had asked me to postpone the surgery as long as I could as I had missed so much time from work due to having cancer twice in less than 14 months.

In February, my plastic surgeon suggested, in an attempt to buy me a few months and offer a temporary solution until I was able to get the DIEP FLAP, that we remove the tissue expander that had been damaged by the radiation and had By this time contracted and it was causing me significant pain as a result of severe capsular contracture. The plan was to put a new tissue expander in, remove scar tissue, biopsy the side and attempt to close the wound. A few days later he removed the drain tube, and within a few days I knew that something was wrong: that Sunday, I began to leak out of the incision, and the following Wednesday, 12 days following the initial surgery, I was having emergency surgery to put another drain tube in. For a few weeks, all went well, I woke up one morning For a few weeks, all went well, Until I woke up all morning and realized the bulb connected to the drain tube was no longer suctioning. By the end of the day, as I was standing in the dollar store, the tube literally fell out of my arm And onto the floor of the dollar store. I begged my plastic surgeon to take a wait and see approach, as physically and emotionally I did not think I could take a third surgery in less than a 6 weeks. He agreed, but noted if we had to go back into surgery again, that he was going to remove The tissue expander and I would have to be flat until I was able to have DIEP FLAP.

About two days after my Initial surgery, I developed a toothache. The first toothache I have ever had in 47 years, and hopefully the last. As I was determined to save money for the flap surgery, I thought I could hold out until My regularly scheduled cleaning in April. The pain became so excruciating however, that on March 26, I broke down and scheduled an emergency dentist appointment. I thought I had lost a filling. They took a bunch of x-rays and the dentist came in. Well, actually, she stood at the door: I’m fairly certain she was afraid to come in the room. She informed me that radiation had wreaked havoc on my teeth, that this has been brewing for a while, and the upper two teeth on my left side were beyond repair. I needed to have them removed immediately. The tooth in front of them was also damaged, but she was hopeful that she could save that tooth when I came in for my cleaning. On Tuesday, March 30, 2021, I underwent emergency oral surgery to have the two teeth extracted and a bone graph Done in lieu Of an implant once my mouth has healed. The dentist further informed me that once I had my upcoming Dexa scan, if the test showed that I had osteoporosis and would need to go on bio phosphonate’s, that it was going to be an uphill battle and my teeth were going to be further damaged. I had refused to have emergency surgery on Monday, March 29, as that was my son‘s 12th birthday, and I had ruined it three Prior when I received The news of my recurrence that day.

In the midst of all of this, My ex, Who had asked me for a divorce on my last day of treatment because he had been having an affair, and told me he didn’t even realize it was my last day of treatment, became convinced that I was refusing him access to our 10 and 12-year-old children, and filed an emergency custody hearing. Despite all of the things that he had done to me over the course of our marriage, the one thing I would never do, Is use our children as a weapon. The children had come to me in November, when Covid had begun to increase again, and asked if they could stop seeing their father. I told them they needed to discuss that with him. Shortly after this, the children began to disclose what had really been going on during the 2 1/2 years that they were visiting their father on his weekends: I immediately contacted My attorney and their therapist. In spite of the things that have come to light, if the children came to me tomorrow and said they wanted to see their father, I would want stipulations put in place, but I would never prevent them from seeing their dad. The one thing that I have always said was that I don’t want our children coming to me later in life and accusing me of making them hate their father, and therefore hating me as a result. I am also a firm believer that if a child does not want to be around someone, there is a reason for that. It was bad enough that they had to watch their mother Battle cancer not once but twice, and watch my younger sister battle cancer six months prior to my first diagnosis. What these children have endured During their visits was heartbreaking. The lies that they were told and forced to keep, The things they have witnessed and been exposed to her on their visits, that I was completely Unaware of, as I was following the separation agreement to the T, words cannot describe how horrible I feel. I am just grateful that they had each other.

The emergency hearing was scheduled for Thursday, April 8, 2021 and I went into emergency surgery, to have my tissue expander removed on Wednesday, April 7. I was completely blindsided at the hearing. Since finding out about the hearing, I was relentless in my attempts to find out what I needed to do to prepare for the trial. My attorney did not get back to me until Easter, four days before the hearing. If I had known that I had a right to produce documents from their therapist, I strongly believe the hearing would have had a completely different outcome. The magistrate was furious that I had not conveyed any of this to my ex, despite there being a documented history of violence, which my lawyer had actually witnessed. My ex is so explosive and unpredictable, that during the mandated mediation we had to go through, we were not even allowed to be in the room together. The magistrate ordered that visitation was to resume immediately and that my ex was to get them from 5 PM on Fridays until 8 PM Every Saturday and from 5 to 8 PM on Wednesdays. Absolutely no restrictions were placed on his visitations. The magistrate informed me I was wrong for allowing a 10 and 12 year old to decide whether or not they had to see their father, that I should have forced them to go on visits with him. They have not seen, and hardly spoken to, this man in six months and then less than 24 hours they were supposed to go with him to spend the night. Telling them what the judge ordered was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Within an hour of me telling the children, I caught my 10 year old daughter packing a bag to run away. It has been an absolute nightmare at my house since April 8. Terrified that I’m going to lose custody of my children, who are my world, I am going against everything that I stand for and believe in, and doing my absolute best to try and get them to go. What I cannot physically do however, regardless of whether or not I had just had surgery, is pick up children that way 180 and 150 pounds and forcibly put them in a car and drive them to the designated drop off area. The judge did order a best interest attorney, so finally my children will have a voice. I cannot put into words how horrible it is to watch these children quickly decompensate in front of my eyes, yet I am forced to continue to try to make them go with their father.

The next day, I was scrambling, trying to do something to put a stop to the magistrates order. I contacted the local domestic violence shelter who gave me some pointers and who also told me That I should file a complaint against my attorney with the bar association as he should have never forced me to make legal decisions the same day that I underwent surgery. When I awoke in the recovery room the day of surgery, he had sent me five emails, and they continue to come fast and furious, as the plan we had put in place had suddenly changed, and my ex and his lawyer wanted to go to mediation, my lawyer and his lawyer we’re having a meeting with the magistrate at 3:30 to discuss this sudden change in plans, and I need to make a decision immediately as to whether or not I was agreeable to this. I was being sent days for mediation. I woke up from surgery at 11:30. I have less than four hours to decide. My lawyer was pushing for mediation. I expressed my concern and uncertainty to him, despite this he continued to push for mediation and for me to lock in a date to do so. I literally hung up the phone with him 15 minutes prior to their meeting with the magistrate.

I have since fired him: he is actually my fathers attorney. Beggars cannot be choosers however, and given the fact that my ex asked me for a divorce the same day I completed radiation treatment and still had two months before I was medically cleared to return to work, I had no choice but to except my father’s offer and agreed to let his attorney represent me. With the money I have been saving to get the DIEP FLAP surgery, I retained new council. I have also been informed that I will be responsible for paying for half of the best interest attorney, and her retainer fee, just my half of it, is $2000. My ex rarely pays child support, and since he is self-employed, the only recourse I have is to go through the motor vehicle administration and attempt to get his license flagged. The children continue to refuse to go with him, and I am terrified in spite of all of my best efforts, because I cannot physically force the children to go with him, that I am going to be found in contempt and risk losing custody of them. I had to cancel my dentist appointment, as well as my upcoming scans, including the much-needed DEXA scan, in an attempt to save money. my father is furious and has completely disowned me. I have reached out to anyone and everyone I can think of to try to find possible solutions as to how to get my children to go with their father. I have no idea how I am going to come up with the money to continue to pay my attorney as well as to figure out ways to pay for their’s. I have attempted to get assistance in the past, but I am told that I make too much money. I am at my wits end. I put on a brave face for the children. I tell them that I am not mad at them For lying to me for 2 1/2 years, as their father told them to do it, and how proud I am of them for being so brave. We have just begun to work on healing the damage done to our relationships. Now we are faced with this. I do not know who else to turn to, BCO has offered so much comfort and solace to me in the past. I am open to any and all suggestions. I hide in the bathroom every night and cry. And to top everything else off, this morning I woke up to find that once again the bulb on my drain tube is not suctioning. My faith is very strong, frankly it is about the only thing I have left at this point. I truly believe that we are never given more than we can handle. Any and all suggestions are so welcome and needed at this point. If nothing else, thank you for letting me share.

Dx 1/20/2017, DCIS/IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/15/2017 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 2/15/2017 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Dx 3/29/2018, IDC, Left, 3/13 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/17/2018 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 6/4/2018 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 12/27/2018 Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 9/3/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Surgery Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole) Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
Log in to post a reply

Page 1 of 1 (8 results)

Log in to post a reply

Apr 18, 2021 08:49PM HalfNhalf wrote:

How awful for you. I have no advice, but will certainly pray for you and your children. Keep hanging on, you are doing everything that you can. Hugs

Dx 8/5/2019, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+, Chemotherapy 9/10/2019 AC + T (Taxol) Targeted Therapy 11/15/2019 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Surgery 2/19/2020 Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 4/7/2020 Whole breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2020 Arimidex (anastrozole)
Log in to post a reply

Apr 19, 2021 02:41AM rah2464 wrote:

Firecracker - I am praying for you and your children. I am so sorry your family is going through all this how absolutely hellish. God bless you and lift you up.

Dx 5/23/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 6/26/2018 Mastectomy; Mastectomy (Left); Mastectomy (Right); Reconstruction (Left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (Right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 7/26/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
Log in to post a reply

Apr 19, 2021 05:23AM Firecracker73 wrote:

Thank you both for your responses and support. Never in a million years did I think my life would end up like thi

Dx 1/20/2017, DCIS/IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/15/2017 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 2/15/2017 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Dx 3/29/2018, IDC, Left, 3/13 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/17/2018 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 6/4/2018 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 12/27/2018 Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 9/3/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Surgery Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole) Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
Log in to post a reply

Apr 19, 2021 05:45AM pupmom wrote:

I'm so sorry and will pray for you and your children. Do the kids get to have input with the judge? The 12 year old especially seems old enough to express her desires.

Life is what happens while we're making other plans. Dx 10/18/2011, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 2/21 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
Log in to post a reply

Apr 19, 2021 06:07AM mommamonaster wrote:

I am a lurker, not a poster, but when I was dealing with custody stuff I found greatvadvuce and help at freeadvice.com on the child custody board. I haven't been there in years, but it's worth giving it a look to see if they're still amazing.

A word of warning, they can be tough, but only to be helpful. They want you to be prepared and focused. I understand that you need to let it out, but if you post there, they aren't going to want anything but the facts. They want you to learn to keep the emotion out of it so that you can present the best side of yourself in court proceedings.

If they people there now are half as good as the ones that were there when I needed it...listen to them, and don't take anything personally because they don't mean it that way.

Log in to post a reply

Apr 19, 2021 09:29AM ctmbsikia wrote:

I think that's great advice mommamonaster. Firecracker, in my opinion, you should make getting full custody of the children priority over everything else. Everything. If you're not in that mind set that their safety is your responsibility, you should make it so. Is the world unfair? Of course it is. Those children did not ask to be here. I desperately hope that you can get the help and correct representation that you need. Learn the laws in your area yourself so you have a full and better understanding of what you are facing.

If anyone was hurting my children, I'd be in jail right now. Best wishes to you.

Dx 12/14/2017, DCIS/IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/16/2018, LCIS, Right Surgery 1/30/2018 Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph node removal Radiation Therapy 4/10/2018 Whole breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 6/25/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole)
Log in to post a reply

Apr 19, 2021 10:16AM Firecracker73 wrote:

Thank you again to everyone who has posted. Will definitely look into that website. First, however, I have to head to the plastic surgeons office as after I made my post, my tube fell out completely. Thanks to everyone again- please keep praying.

Dx 1/20/2017, DCIS/IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/15/2017 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 2/15/2017 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Dx 3/29/2018, IDC, Left, 3/13 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/17/2018 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 6/4/2018 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 12/27/2018 Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 9/3/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Surgery Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole) Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
Log in to post a reply

Apr 19, 2021 04:53PM romashka wrote:

Firecracker73,

A big hug to you. You are heard and your struggles are received with care. You've been given some good guidance and I hope it helps. Please keep us updated with your drain situation too.

PALB2 Dx 8/22/2017, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 10/11/2017 Mastectomy; Mastectomy (Left); Mastectomy (Right)

Page 1 of 1 (8 results)

Scroll to top button